Troy Bank and Trust to acquire First National Bank

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Troy Bank and Trust Co.’s proposed purchase of First National Bank will merge Pike County’s two oldest banks and be a “win-win-win” for the community, officials said Monday.

Sherrill Crowe, chairman of the Henderson Bancshares, Inc. Board of Directors, and James T. Ramage, III, chairman of the First Brundidge Bancshares, Inc. Board of Directors, announced Monday the signing of a definitive agreement between Henderson Bancshares Inc., the holding company of Troy Bank and Trust Company, with First Brundidge Bancshares Inc., the holding company of The First National Bank of Brundidge, whereby TB&T will acquire FNBB. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“These two banks have been serving the financial needs of Pike County for a combined 224 years,” Crowe said. “We both take great pride in serving our customers and that will never change.”

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Troy Bank & Trust currently operates 11 banking offices in Pike, Dale, Coffee, Houston and Lee counties including its main office in Troy and as of June 1, 2017, reported total assets of approximately $853 million. The First National Bank was founded in 1904, two years before Troy Bank and Trust Company, and operates offices in Brundidge and in Troy, with assets of approximately $94 million. After the merger, the combined basis post-transaction is approximately $929 million in total assets. It is expected that all current locations will remain open after the merger until further notice.

“This is really a win-win-win,” said Jeff Kervin, president and CEO of Troy Bank and Trust Company. “We firmly believe in this case this is going to be good for the customers, for the employees and most importantly for the community. It’s going to be beneficial to have a large, independent bank in our community.”

Kervin said the agreement to acquire FNB came after months of discussions, a timeframe echoed by John R. Ramage, president and CEO of First National Bank of Brundidge.

“For us, they’re a good bank, with a good reputation, excellent management and excellent staff,” Kervin said. “They’re stronger in a part of the county and a geographical area where we’re not as strong.”

Ramage, whose great-great-grandfather founded First National Bank of Brundidge and whose father led the bank for 50 years, said the move makes good strategic sense and ensures the future of a strong, independent community bank in Pike County and the region.

“Quite honestly, this was a decision we didn’t have to make,” he said. “But when opportunity knocks, sometimes you have to listen. A lot of conversations were had, a lot of prayer was involved … but ultimately, it’s the right decision to make. This is a good thing for our customers – they will always have a community bank; it’s a good thing for our shareholders; and it’s a good thing for our employees.”

Kervin said the acquisition has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both banks and is expected to close during the first quarter of 2018, barring any delays, as the transaction is subject to certain conditions and customary regulatory approvals. Operation integration could begin in early May, pending approval. In the meantime, both banks will continue to operate as separate entities.

“There are anti-trust laws, and this would be subject to those,” Kervin said. “But we’ve had preliminary conversations with the regulators and we feel like any concerns can be overcome.

“Once we complete the merger, will we be able to offer products and services to the customers we’ve not been able to offer in the past. We expect to keep all employees and we’ll be right-sizing through normal retirements and staffing changes.”

Ramage re-iterated that the transition would be seamless for First National Bank customers. “The customer needs to know the same person will be there, and will continue to be there, and serve them in the manner we have treated our customers for the past 113 years,” Ramage said.

Ramage said he will remain on staff as an executive after the merger and he expects the 24 full-time employees of First National Bank to remain in place.

Ramage said he is excited about the opportunity the proposed purchase presents for everyone. “From our loyal customers to the officers and staff and for our shareholders, this is an excellent opportunity … TB&T shares a culture with FNBB of strong, independent banking, focusing on the communities we serve. This merger will make us one of the strongest community banks in the Southeast. I, along with FNBB’s staff, look forward to working with TB&T’s team.”

For TB&T, the purchase is a key step in an expansion strategy that has seen opening of offices in both Dothan and Auburn within the past two years, as well as combining of operations between the previous People’s Bank of Coffee County and Troy Bank and Trust Co. Kervin said the strategic moves position TB&T to remain a strong, viable and growing independent bank. “And that’s important in a community,” he said, adding an independent bank is able to provide financing and support community interests on a grass-roots level, helping build a grow communities such as Troy and Pike County.

“From the opening of our doors in 1906, to this strategic acquisition of The First National Bank of Brundidge, we create opportunity and growth, allowing Troy Bank & Trust to better serve our community with increased lending limits, access to a broader range of products and services, and a more expansive geographic footprint,” said Crowe. “We look forward to working with the officers and employees of The First National Bank to make this endeavor successful.”